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Walter B. Hoye II

A Weekly Column By Walter B. Hoye II
Conflict Of Interest
In the abortion debate, is there a "Conflict of Interest"
within the Black community and among her leaders?
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Mildred Fay Jefferson

"You can always tell who the pioneers are because they have arrows in their back and are lying face down in the dirt." — Unknown, Source

Dr. Mildred Fay JeffersonDr. Mildren Fay Jefferson (1926-2010)

Mildred Fay Jefferson (April 4th, 1926 — October 15th, 2010) was the first black woman to graduate from Harvard medical school and used her position to defend the humanity of the pre-born child. She was the only child of a Methodist minister and a school teacher. Mildred was born in Pittsburg, Texas, raised in Carthage, Texas, earned her bachelor's degree from Texas College, earned her master's degree from Tufts University and graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1951. She served as a surgical intern at Boston City Hospital and became the first female doctor at the former Boston University Medical Center. She was also wholeheartedly committed to the Pro-Life movement. Dr. Jefferson was one of the founders of the Value of Life Committee of Massachusetts, the National Right to Life Committee, Black Americans for Life, and openly spoke up for the pre-born child with other right to life organizations. 1 Dr. Jefferson, a trailblazer and true pro-life pioneer, helped found the National Right to Life Committee, was President of the Committee for three (3) terms and then continued to served on the Committee's Board of Directors. 2

"Almost Unlimited License To Kill" 3

"The doctor who willingly accepts destroying life will have no grounds on which to object if the state should compel that doctor to destroy life," — Mildred Fay Jefferson 4

Dr. Mildred Fay JeffersonDr. Mildren Fay Jefferson (1926-2010)

Compelled and propelled by a deep commitment to a Judeo-Christian ethic and what she felt was her own profession's betrayal of pre-born life, Dr. Jefferson felt the 1973 Supreme Court's Doe and Roe decisions gave doctors a license that could impair the right of doctors to refrain from killing. In her own words, Dr. Jefferson spoke clearly to the heart of this matter: "U.S. Supreme Court Justices, don't have to see the impact or consequences of their decisions but then without consulting us they want us to carry out these socially destructive missions and I SAY NO AND I AM NOT WILLING to give up the role of doctor as healer to become the new social executioner." 5 Dr. Jefferson's words are now prophetic. From her vantage point, she could see the violation of not only the rights of physicians' but ultimately an assault on the rights of us all. She went on to say Doctors "must exert their rights and obligations or we will be the first slaves of the state and you will soon join us." 6

Abortion Was A Civil Rights Issue

"I am at once a physician, a citizen, and a woman, and I am not willing to stand aside and allow the concept of expendable human lives to turn this great land of ours into just another exclusive reservation where only the perfect, the privileged, and the planned have the right to live." — Mildred Fay Jefferson 7

Dr. Mildred Fay JeffersonDr. Mildren Fay Jefferson (1926-2010)

Abortion was a civil rights issue for Dr. Jefferson. Growing up in East Texas, I believe Dr. Jefferson understood what it was like not to be considered a person and became a bold communicator of the impact of abortion among her own people. Here is one of my favorite quotes from Dr. Jefferson: "In 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court looked at the slave, Dred Scott, and came up with the wrong decision, declaring the slave as 'property' and not a 'citizen' under the U.S. Constitution. The slave's life was still protected. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court got it wrong again and handed down decisions on abortion which declared 'open season' on unborn children throughout the full nine months of pregnancy. After 44 million abortions, most people have not noticed that the population descended from the U.S. African slaves, comprising around 12% of the population, make up about 35% of the abortion population. This means that more Americans of African descent have died in the abortion chambers than have died in all the years of slavery and lynchings." 8

We Are All In Her Debt

[The pro-life movement] "is second only to the abolitionist movement in the profound change it has brought about in American thinking." — Mildred Fay Jefferson 9

We are noticing the impact of abortion in Black America NOW Dr. Jefferson. In New York City 60% of all Black pregnancies end in abortion, compared to 40% for Hispanics and 20% for whites. Black babies in New York City are aborted at three (3) times the rate of whites. Since 2000, Blacks have had 154,000 more abortions than live births. Clearly, the reduction in Black births and the high rate of Black abortions paints a picture of a population in sharp decline. 10 For those that have never seen or heard Dr. Jefferson, above and on the left is a wonderful YouTube. In light of March being celebrated as Women's History Month, I want to remember Dr. Jefferson and acknowledge that today's Black Pro-Life Coalition is in her debt. If I am seeing an end to abortion (and I am) it is only because I am standing on the shoulders of Dr. Mildred Fay Jefferson. Dr. Jefferson, in light of Women's History Month, thank you for a life so well lived that it continues to serve as a model for all of us today.

Brothers, we really need to talk.

01. Rebekah Hebbert, "Heroine of human dignity: Mildred Fay Jefferson", Sunday, 12th December 2010 (
02. Kathleen Sweeney, Outreach Department, National Right to Life Committee, "Black Pro-Life Leaders Honored at U.S. Capitol Luncheon" (
03. Rebekah Hebbert, op. cit.
04. Ibid.
05. Friar Roderic Mary, Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, "Dr. Mildren Fay Jefferson," February 2nd, 2010 AirMaria.Com Interview (
06. Rebekah Hebbert, op. cit.
07. Mildred Jefferson, M.D., 2003, American Feminist Magazine, (
08. Donald R. McClarey, "Mildred Fay Jefferson, Requiescat In Pace", The American Catholic, Monday, October 18, 2010 A.D. (
09. Mildred Jefferson, M.D., op. cit.
10. Dennis M. Howard, "Does New York City Deserve the Title'Pro-Abortion Police State?'" (

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